EU Policy. EU AI Act trilogue to wrangle foundation models, governance issues – co-rapporteur

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Cyber AI security Copyright PIERRE-PHILIPPE MARCOU/AFP or licensors
By Jeremy Fleming-Jones
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Disagreements between the EU institutions over foundation AI models and governance issues are set to be wrangled during tomorrow’s (24 October) fifth trilogue negotiation taking place in Brussels, one of the AI Act’s MEP co-rapporteurs has told euronews.

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The issues are two of three key remaining stumbling blocks in the discussions between the European Parliament (EP), European Commission (EC) and member states, along with exemptions to AI prohibitions sought by the Council for law enforcement, Dragoș Tudorache said in an interview.

Tudorache is Vice-President of the Renew Europe Group in the EP and the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee’s (LIBE) rapporteur on the AI Act. LIBE is co-steering the paper through the parliament along with the body’s Internal Market committee.

He said the Parliament had introduced a stipulation for so-called AI foundation models – imposing significant obligations on apex models such as ChatGPT and Bard – because such AI models only emerged as a significant factor following the publication of the original European Commission (EC) proposal in 2021.

Foundation models to remain in text with refinement, says rapporteur

“I don’t see any scenario in which it disappears,” he said of the EP insertion into the text on foundation models, adding that the question the trilogue would address is not so much whether to target obligations at such models but how to define the models.

“So if I venture a guess as to the direction of travel in relation to these foundation models it is likely that there will be a further refinement of what actually falls under this provision,” he said.

Any definition settled upon in the negotiations will include models such as ChatGPT, Tudorache said, “because it is at the top of the food chain in terms of how powerful it is”.

He acknowledged that “the nomenclatura surrounding foundation models is fluid and has evolved to encompass smaller foundation models”, adding: “We need to find technical criteria that accurately classify a foundation model that should come under scope, and we are hard at work trying to determine these.”

One more trilogue needed to reach agreement, Tudorache predicts

Tudorache said that if the institutions achieve the desired progress in negotiations this week, “then we can reach final political agreement in one more trilogue, which could take place in mid-November, either just before or during the EP’s Strasbourg week (20-23 November).”

However, even if political agreement is achieved before the end of November, the prospect of a final plenary vote before the end of the year might be unrealistic, he said, since the paper is very long and complicated, and might require around two months’ work by lawyer linguists following agreement.

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